There used to be a time in the music biz when artists had the option to not go out on tour if they so chose, a time when album sales would (or might) generate enough funds to carry an artist financially. Those days are long gone. Nowadays touring is not just an option for artists, it's a necessity.
Not only that, but the rules of the game have been totally flipped around. Once upon a time a tour supported an album, but these days an artist's new album is merely a tool to promote his/her tour.
Case in point is longtime East Bay artist/producer/emcee Del The Funky Homosapien (of Hieroglyphics and Gorillaz/Deltron 3030 fame etc.), whose brand new album, Funkman (FunnyMan Entertainment), released today, April 7th, is being given away completely free as a digital download exclusively on his site and is being utilized as a tool to promote the artist's national tour which kicks off tomorrow, April 8th, in San Luis Obispo and runs through May 22nd.
Unlike Radiohead, who so famously gave away their last album by making it downloadable for free or (preferably) whatever amount of money fans chose to donate based on what they thought the music was worth, Del isn't asking a penny for the music. Foolish? Not at all. On the contrary, Del, who you will recall along with his Hiero collective was among the earliest hip-hoppers in the mid 1990's to jump on the Internet as way to distribute music, has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to music market analysis. Besides, he knows that today's pirating generation of music fans don't expect to spend money on new music and are most likely going to steal it anyway. So, he figured, why not just give it to them anyway and stay in control of the situation?
Topically presented as Del's "Stimulus Package" release for these cash-strapped times, the 13 track Funkman is artist's seventh album and follow up to last year's Def Jux release Eleventh Hour. The new album was officially announced via video clip a few weeks ago with the artist shown as "The President of Funk" atop a podium with a large Red Bull logo, informing fans of his "13 point stimulus plan that is guaranteed to restore funk to our Government," along with the good news that he was giving away this new album for free as of April 7th.